#SoCS – 8/18/2018

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A few days ago, I got in my attic and started sorting through my mother’s things. She’s been gone eighteen years, so I thought it time, and past time, to dispose of her belongings. I should tell you that it was, perhaps, the worst decision I’ve ever made! If you’re wondering why, let me tell you my story.

It’s always emotional, I’m sure, to have to dispose of your parents’ things when they are gone. My mother clearly kept every piece of paper, card, picture, and letter that she had ever had. All the way back to before World War II. What I found was actually a treasure trove for a writer. Letters between she and my dad when he was fighting in WWII. A scrapbook she kept with newspaper clippings about the war. Letters from all my family, both sides, during wartime. The newspaper from the day the war was over. I’m currently writing a little historical fiction and now I have at least some of my primary research, but it was tough to read about that young, wartime couple who later became my mom and dad.

Then there were the pictures. Thousands of pictures. My mother had seven siblings, so on my maternal side, I have a lot of cousins. Most of the pictures that were not of me were of her brothers and sisters and my cousins, up to about the age of ten. It was a huge job, and an emotional one, to go through all those pictures and separate them cousin by cousin. I’m not yet finished. I’m determined to return those pictures to my cousins so they can share them with their own children, even though I’m not in touch with most of them any more.

Next was the really hard stuff. I think my mother had saved every drawing I’d ever made as a child, every report card, every single thing relevant to me as I”d gone through school. It broke my heart and made me cry.

I still have two large boxes to go through. No idea yet what’s in them and I’m almost afraid to open them. I hope to finish this task this week. I feel like I’ve just viewed my mother’s entire life, a little like a Peeping Tom, and have seen her most private possessions.

Getting old ain’t for sissies.

*The picture above is of my grandparents house and farm in Appalachia. I found it in my mother’s pictures.

**Thanks to Linda Hill for the Stream of Consciousness prompt!

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#weekendcoffeeshare -7/18/2018

 

Good morning! Welcome to my #weekendcoffeeshare! Grab a cup of coffee or tea off the kitchen island. I believe there is also decaf of both there and some green tea. Help yourself to whatever your pleasure is and join me in my study.

I hope all of you are well and happy and getting along well with your writing projects. I’m proceeding with my novella and have had time to do some writing this week. I am working on the characters right now, fleshing them out, making them interesting. Do you use Scrivener? I am using it for my character studies as it seems really convenient for that, but I use Microsoft Word for my actual manuscript. This is the first time I’ve used Scrivener, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Do any of you have experience with that program?

I’ve also spent the week following the story about the environmental devastation in Florida. If you’re in the U.S., I’m sure you’ve heard about it. If you’re not, you may not. In short, the Gulf Coast of the Florida peninsula is being devastated by chemical runoff from the sugar cane operation around Lake Okachoobee. There was already a red tide on the Gulf Coast. Now, the runoff has caused a blue-green algae bloom that has caused a massive fish kill. Hundreds of sea turtles have been killed, which breaks my heart. Thousands of fish. This will impact the people of the Gulf Coast and their jobs for years to come.

We have a small place in Florida right in the middle of this runoff. We don’t think we can even go back except to get our belongings. Even then, it will be dangerous to our health. Tourism will be dead in Florida this coming winter which will destroy their economy. It’s very sad and unnecessary. I’m a bit of a political activist, so I’ve been involved in this during the week. A picture of the blue-green algae slime that is so toxic is below this post.

I’m also involved in trying to tame my wild puppy, Tucker! He’s so sweet, but completely out of hand at 5.5 months old. I’ve had five corgis in my life, but never a corgi with his temperament. I told my husband that his needs are above my pay grade! Together with his breeder, we’re trying to find a professional trainer for him. Not only will that be good for me, it will be good for Tucker. I have to be trained as well. I have to learn the secrets to controlling him and he has to learn to control himself. Herding dogs, like Tucker, are alphas by nature. After he’s trained, I want to involve him in something fun for him. I’m going to enter him in herding trials and let him do what comes naturally to him.

Environmental issues and character studies for my novella have been at the top of my list this week, along with dog training, of course. What have you been doing this week?

*Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

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#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/11/2018

Hello everyone! I’d like to invite you to have coffee with me after dinner tonight. I’m running late this weekend, but after dinner coffee might be fun for a change. I appreciate all of you attending my #weekendcoffeeshare tonight! There is a selection of coffee on the bar. There is also tea such as Earl Grey and Paris. Please help yourself.

if we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve had a difficult week, so please forgive me if I’m not my usual self. One of my former classmates and forever friends passed away and his visitation and services were this week. He was a special, unique man and he will be greatly missed by many. I had known him since we started kindergarten together at four years old and we then went through twelve years of school together. I’m sad tonight.

I’m having some behavioral issues with my five-month old puppy. It is disturbing and upsetting, having never dealt with such issues before with a puppy. I’m hoping, as he gets older, they will resolve themselves, but I’m working with him a great deal now.

I have embarked on a huge job. I am going through all my photos and the photos from my mother. I’m going to try to get the photos of other family members back to them and the photos of my own family in some semblance of order. I know, I know. It’s a big job, but it’s time to do it. It won’t be done overnight, I assure you!

I’ve done a good bit of writing this week. Sometimes, when life gets hard, I escape into my writing. That’s the story of this week.

A brief line from one of my favorite poems. I wish I could live like this:

”I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief”

—from “The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

I’d love to hear about your week!

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare.

 

#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/28/2018

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Good morning to all! Thank you for joining me, virtually today, for our #weekendcoffeeshare. I raise my teacup to you and hope you are enjoying a good strong cup of coffee or tea right along with me. I’m waking up at a remote location. I feel like I’m sitting at the top of the world, but I’m not. I am in the Great Smoky Mountains at a place, dear to all Tennessee lovers, called Rocky Top. Had you driven up here in an RV, pulling a car, with a 4.5 month old puppy looking out the windows crying, you would know why I feel like I’m at the top of the world this morning!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that to get to the RV campground here requires climbing up a mountain around a series of hairpen curves, no small feat for the RV that is towing. I wasn’t driving. Nope, not me. No way. It was scary as hell anyway. Just ask my puppy, whose eyes were as big as saucers. This campground is at Norris, Tennessee where Norris Dam and Lake are. My husband came here to fish. I joined him to try to socialize Tucker, the puppy, because I knew there would be plenty of people and dogs at the campground. What I forgot about were the bears. Yes, the black bear is prevalent in the park and I have just what they are looking for – a puppy. Going outdoors after dark is a bit perilous.

Other than being scared to death of the roads and the bear, it’s been a great trip so far. Lunch today in a fab little cafe in the town of Norris. The dam, which is awesome, was built back in the 1930’s and the Tennessee Valley Authority, who built the dam, provided housing in the form of an actual little town for its workers. Norris is one of only two such towns left. It is quaint and beautiful.

So far, Tucker has been walked to death. He has had a crash course in leash training, other dogs, and strange people. He has received an A+ in people skills, a C in leash training, and a failing grade in other dogs. That should tell you about the last two days of my life. He rides in the car like a champ. A pouting champ, but a champ nonetheless. The RV is too much for him and he hides in his crate. We’re expecting a lot of a puppy not yet five months old.

We’re here a few more days before we head home which is only a few short hours away.

Needless to say, making time for writing has suffered this past week. I have gotten a little work done on my novella and very little blogging done.

Before I close, I have to mention sports for a moment. I want to apologize to all my fellow UK Wildcats fans! Why? Because we are at ROCKY TOP. They will understand.

I’d love to hear about all of you! Wish me luck in the wilds of the Smoky Mountains!

 

*Photo Credit to Wikipedia

#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/21/2018

Oh, please come in, grab a beverage, and find a seat! I’m so sorry we had to meet in the coffee shop today instead of at my house! I’m having company today and tonight.

Thank you so much for dropping by my #weekendcoffeeshare today. Wasn’t that storm we had last night terrible? We didn’t get the worst of it here. About 70 miles to the west, in the city where many of my friends live, they got hit pretty hard. Lots of downed trees, power lines down, people trapped in cars. Several of my friends were without power or any services for many hours. At least the storm brought a cold front in with it and the weather is so much more pleasant today. The humidity is lower and so is the temperature.

I’m very proud of my 4.5 month old puppy, Tucker. He was a real trooper during the storm. There was big thunder and lightning. Tucker did lay close to me, but he was not fearful. When he first came to live with me, I played ball with him during storms. It seems to have helped him cope now.

Now for Tucker update for the week. His newest accomplishment is that he learned to be comfortable in his harness and his seat belt harness in the car. You can see him in the picture above. He is started to look around, look out the windows, just be comfortable in the car in general. I’m proud of him! Now if he’d only stop chewing on my hands and being a holy terror in my house! One step at a time, I guess! 🙂

My writing is going slowly right now. After all, it’s summer. I have a puppy to train and we are about to take a little vacation. In fact, next Saturday, I’ll write my weekendcoffeeshare from on the road in our RV! I’ll keep you in suspense until then. I have gotten some work done on my historical World War II novella this week, but not as much as I’d like.

Some sad news. I think I’ve mentioned before that I went to an unusual high school. It was located on a college campus and was a private, teacher training school. I went lock-step through twelve grades with the same 28 kids, give or take. Most of us are still close. We grew up much like siblings. One of the boys in our class is quite ill and may not make it. One of the other people in the class, a girlfriend, is driving here today to visit him. She is my company for the evening.

That’s all from northeastern Kentucky today. Thanks for joining me for coffee! I hope all of you are meeting your writing goals, but that you’re also having fun this summer!

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

Hemingway and the Sea – #SoCS

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The “Old Man and the Sea.” One of my favorite books by my favorite classical author.

This isn’t a book review. Far from it. Who could review Hemingway? I wouldn’t presume to do so. I’ve re-read “The Old Man and the Sea” recently and I just want to make a few comments about the book and about Hemingway.

One reason I like Hemingway as a classical author is because of his writing style. It is concise, succinct, and spare. He writes in short, declarative sentences. There is nothing flowery about his writing, unlike some of his contemporaries. He keeps many of the adverbs and a large number of the adjectives out of his writing. That lets the reader see the real story. The succinct story.

The book is, quite simply, about an old fisherman and his struggle with his last big fish. Most readers will draw the conclusion that the book is about a man’s struggle to prove himself one last time, in his old age. Hemingway didn’t feel the need to clutter up his story with descriptive adverbs and adjectives. He just wrote the story clearly and sparely. It’s classified as a novella, a form of literature which is back in style in publishing today.

His writing style must have worked. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 for the “Old Man and the Sea.”

Why the Donald Trump Presidency is Dangerous

A friend recently pointed out to me that I am irrational about my vehement dislike of the Donald Trump Presidency. I don’t think I’m irrational, but I am afraid. Allow me to explain my reasons,

I can remember presidencies since the John F. Kennedy Presidency beginning in 1960. I have studied many other presidencies. This is the first U.S. Presidency that I can remember or know of where the people who support Trump, his base, take his position on issues whether they believe in that position or not. For example, the issue of family separation that has been happening at the U.S. southern border. Good people who never would have been in favor of any child being taken away from its mother support that Trump policy (which has since been repealed) even though they would never have thought of such a thing before Donald Trump.

Other examples are farmers in the midwest who supported and still support Trump even though he is imposing tariffs affecting their own products and individuals in poverty-stricken in Appalachia supporting Trump even while his policies lean toward reducing benefits such as Medicaid.

Such blind loyalty to a President is a dangerous thing. We can’t just say that Donald Trump is all-knowing and will do the best thing for us. We have to think for ourselves. Once we turn over our free will to a mere man, we are lost. We are lost to our democracy becoming an authoritarian regime and all the corruption that goes with it. We are lost because our votes will no longer count. We are lost because no one man knows what is best for us.

America is lost.

The Companions

You came to me at four months old, all full of puppy shenanigans. Sweet, kind, and loyal from the start, I couldn’t believe my luck. You were beautiful with the one blue eye and one brown eye. It’s been 20 years ago and I remember what you looked like as a puppy precisely.

You and I were together through some hard times. My mother lived with us and when you were two years old, she passed away. You comforted me more effectively than anyone else could. We lived alone together,  you and I, for seven years, until you were nine years old. I wouldn’t have survived the loneliness without you.

We saved each other’s lives, you and I. You got a chew bone caught in your throat one night and you were choking to death. Somehow, I pried it out before you died. Innumerable times, you woke me up when my blood sugar was low and saved my life. I literally owed you my life.

When you were ten years old, I remarried. I still had to see you the last thing before I closed my eyes at night and the first thing when I opened them in the morning. You were starting to get old. You had fought chronic pancreatitis all your life.

When you were fourteen, you had a tooth abscess. There was no choice but to have your veterinarian pull it. When you came home, you collapsed for two days and the vet came to the house. I begged you to wake up. Finally, you did. You were never the same again. The vet diagnosed you with canine dementia brought on my the anesthesia.

Within six months, I couldn’t bear to watch you go to the closet door to go outside instead of the outside door. You didn’t feel well. When you looked at me, you were begging me with your eyes. I sent you over the Rainbow Bridge and it barely took any medication at all. It broke my heart.

For five years, I couldn’t bear to look at a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. They were all you. Finally, I started to miss having a Cardi in my home and a kind friend was able to find a puppy for me. He is of your bloodline, a great-nephew several times removed. Sometimes, he reminds me of you, but he’s his own little man. I love having a Cardi again.

I don’t expect him to replace you. I can already see signs of him becoming a great companion dog like you were, even though he’s only three and one-half months old. He’s so smart and I see the loyalty building. I wonder what you’d think of him?

He’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night, just like you were. I love you, Eliza, and now I love Tucker too.

https://rosemarycarlson.com

#SoCS – 5/26/18 – Appalachia: Memorial Day

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It’s Memorial Day weekend and that’s an important holiday in Appalachia. It’s a holiday that honors lost loved ones, whether they were lost in war or died of natural causes, in this region of the U.S. In Appalachia, it’s a weekend where families reunite, have large meals together, and decorate the graves of their deceased relatives with flowers. Across Appalachia, Memorial Day is most often called Decoration Day.

When I was growing up, and even now, the family would congregate where most of the relatives were buried. In my case, that was at my grandparent’s home in Magoffin County, Kentucky. Every nuclear family within the extended family would bring beautiful flowers to decorate each grave. Often, that would involve going to three or four cemeteries.

Memorial Day at the cemetery was also a social occasion. Families who seldom saw each other would have a chance to talk and catch up while decorating the graves.

After decorating the graves, everyone would go to my grandmother’s house for a large meal and a visit with each other afterward. It was one of the most important family holidays of the year.

We still honor our lost loved ones in Appalachia in much the same way. Families are smaller. There are fewer large family meals. Instead of meals in grandma’s kitchen, they are often prepared on the grill. You will still find people hunting flowers a few days before the Memorial Day weekend to decorate gravesites. They will still enjoy visiting with family and friends in the cemeteries. It’s getting more difficult to find children who know what “Decoration Day” really means and who it honors.

#Core – #MothersDay

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On this Mother’s Day, I find myself thinking about my mother and what her passing meant to me. She’s been gone for eighteen years now. My dad died when I was comparatively young – only 30. I had my mother for many years after he passed away. After she died, I felt a keen since of mortality at my core. There was no one left older than me. That meant I would, at some point, be next. You really feel that when both parents are gone as they were in my case after my mother died.

When your mother dies, you feel quite alone. Even though I was closer to my father than to my mother, I felt more alone after she died. You never quite get over losing your parents and I think I can safely say, your mother. I think that may be because your mother nurtured you before you were born and immediately thereafter.

Mother’s Day also revers the maternal bonds as well as being a celebration of Mothers. I don’t know a lot about maternal bonds. My mother did her best, even though she was plagued by serious illness all of her life or the portion of her life in which I knew her. We didn’t have the strong bonds many daughter’s and mother’s have.

I hope every Mother out there has a wonderful Mother’s Day today and that you get to spend it with your children!